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People cool off in air-raid shelters

By Cang Wei in Nanjing | China Daily | Updated: 2017-07-18 07:01

High temperatures push residents to seek respite below ground

In addition to shopping malls and libraries, many Nanjing residents have chosen to enjoy the cool air of air-raid shelters, where they may read books, dance or play online games.

"What I like most about the air-raid shelters is that there are no mosquitoes," said Zhong Yue, a 16-year-old who accompanied her grandmother to Beijiyan Shelter, which is built into a hillside. "My grandma goes to the shelter almost every day in summer with her friends to save electricity. I think it's environmentally friendly. However, I wouldn't be here if free Wi-Fi wasn't provided."

Since Saturday, Nanjing has opened eight of its air-raid shelters to the public. Tables, chairs and free mineral water are provided, along with dehumidifiers.

Beijiyan Shelter, which literally means North Pole rock shelter in Chinese, is located near well-known attractions, such as Xuanwu Lake and Jiming Temple.

And it's not just residents. Visitors find their way into the shelter as well.

Yuan Man, a Suzhou student who will go to college this September, said that the shelter looks different from what he had imagined.

"I thought it would be dark and terrifying inside, like in the war movies," said the student, who is traveling in Nanjing. "But it's bright and clean.

"I shivered when I first entered. It's almost 40 C outside and inside it's only half that temperature."

Yuan Renshui, a community worker in Qixia district, said people don't get bored, even if they spend the whole day in the Qianxin Yinkuang Shelter.

"We bought a television this year," he said. "The shelter covers more than 200 square meters. It's divided into three rooms for reading, playing poker and dancing."

The shelter is the only one in the city that's open all year. Others are open daily from July 15 to late August.

"Many people come to the shelter around 9:30 am and don't leave until it closes at 5 pm," said Chen Ya, who is retired. "Some even bring lunch."

Other cities, such as Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, Fuzhou, Fujian province, and Chengdu, Sichuan province have also opened their air-raid shelters to the public.

According to the National Meteorological Center, heat will continue to grip parts of eastern, northern and southern China. Temperatures in some parts are expected to hit 37 to 40 degrees.

Guo Jun contributed to this story.

People cool off in air-raid shelters

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